Do you meditate?
Does it kind of freak you out a little bit?
Just me, then?
I’ve read things specifically geared towards people who are anxious during meditation, but I don’t think I’ve actually come across someone who’s experienced it. I’ve seen people worry about doing it wrong, or that it won’t be helpful for them, but not really experience the kind of tiny panic that forces your eyes open and your mind back just a few minutes after you begin.
For me, I think it comes from a fear of something happening to my body. I grew up in a home where privacy was virtually non-existent– I’d lock myself in the bathroom in order to catch some time when I wouldn’t have to worry about someone bursting through the door– and I’ve had a lingering fear of being intruded upon and harassed ever since. I also kind of freak the eff out about anything to do with circulatory systems, so trying to listen to and be aware of my pulse isn’t the most relaxing of activities. So, I abandoned the usual cross-legged-eyes-closed-take-deep-breaths-and-focus kind of practice most people think of when they picture meditation.
I’ve found doing it right before sleeping helps. Even if it isn’t “correct” to fall asleep during meditation, deliberately focusing has allowed me to catch the exact progression my brain goes through as I begin dozing off. It’s kind of cool, really– there’s a line between being conscious and unconscious where your thoughts turn into free association salad and, if you’re able to ride them through just right, you can manage to retain just enough awareness to dream lucidly and have some really vivid, full-sensory experiences.
Open-eyed meditation works sometimes, too. I usually need props to achieve it (or, at the very least, some kind of path for my eyes to wander if I’m not going to close them) so I reserve it for things like scrying, capnomancy, or pyromancy.
Does it have the same transformative relaxy-type-brainwave effects as traditional meditation? I couldn’t say. At the very least it doesn’t trigger the feeling that someone’s going to burst into my bedroom, so…
Open-eyed meditation: 1
Traditional meditation: 0
Still, I am constantly assured that I’m missing something– that traditional meditation, fully awake and with closed eyes, has things to offer me that other methods don’t and I’m a failure for working around it. Is it true? Without a way to analyze my own brainwaves, I really can’t say. Without conclusive evidence that traditional meditation is the only “proper” way to relax and improve one’s mental and physical well-being, I’m also not sure it matters.
Do you meditate as part of your spiritual or wellness practice? Have you ever experienced anxiety during it? How do you make meditative states work for you?